In the late eighties I visited Sydney with my girlfriend at the time. We stayed in a fleabag hotel in the middle of Kings Cross, walked around the neon-lit streets at night and bought a bag of marijuana off an emaciated dealer in an alley next to a strip joint. It turned out to be mostly dried parsley.
Not much of a connection with Australia’s capital of sleaze and sin, I know. But what my real life interactions lacked, imagination made up for, fuelled by Kings Cross’s place in Australian popular culture.
One of my favourite fictional private investigators, Cliff Hardy, the creation of Sydney author Peter Corris, has done his fair share of time knocking around the Cross. The terrific 1995 television mini-series Blue Murder and the not-so-wonderful Underbelly: Razor and Underbelly: The Golden Mile also did their bit to maintain its unsavoury reputation.